So let's say you are hanging out in the office and you spot a coworker you like but don't know that well. Maybe you see a cousin you haven't seen in a while at your grandma's house.
This person is an acquaintance. Acquaintances are not the same as friends. You don't have the same kind of conversations with acquaintances.
Now. Sometimes I will say some shit to people I don't know very well, because I'm filled with tons of feels and if I'm stressed, they start leaking out the edges.
Which means that mean someone asks me a completely innocent question like-- How are you?, I might answer with the actual truth. Which pretty much horrifies the people who simply spoke words to acknowledge my physical presence and didn't want to be hit in the face with a list of reasons why my life isn't working properly right now.
Don't be like me. Unless you like making people uncomfortable, in which case, take every single polite question people ask and answer it with some truth. But mostly, just say you're fine, and keep the truth out of the office. I wish I could do this more, but when I get stressed, I start throwing truth in people's faces, and no one wants that.
The alternate title to this post could be-- Stop asking me goddamn intrusive questions. I don't know you.
So let's say you want to make the polite chitchat. Why not notice something nice about the person and say-- hey, I love your dress. Where did you get it? Oh, is that a picture of your son/daughter? What is his/her name?
If you ask a parent about their kid out of the blue, they will be happy to talk. And people who are wearing cool clothes like to be told they are. Then you can feel good that you paid the proper amount of attention to your acquaintance. They'll be happy, and you won't be a goddamn irritating nosy-ass person.
If you do this enough, people will like you, and maybe you can get in on that juicy gossip us women love so much. I do actually love gossip. Who doesn't? People are interesting, and we're gonna talk about them. They tried to preach against gossip when I was in church, and talk about a lost cause. Churches are gossipy as hell. But so is everywhere!
Here is what you should not do, if you are looking to make chitchat--
-Don't comment on the most obvious thing. Maybe consider not commenting on the pregnancy of the very obviously due pregnant woman. Maybe don't ask the guy with his arm in the cast what happened if you don't even know his name. Because EVERYONE is doing it. It gets fucking old to explain to the entire world why you're wearing a wrist brace.
-Don't ever ask a woman if she's pregnant ever. Do NOT do this. It will either become really obvious that she is, because you see her all the time and these things tend to get to the point where they can't be missed-- OR. (fucking) OR!!! You are about to embarrass the shit out of yourself. And it's none of your business because this is a goddamn stranger you're talking to.
-Don't ask me when I plan to complete some life transition. When are you going to get a boyfriend? When are you going to get married? When are you going to have a baby?
I WILL CUT YOU, I SWEAR TO ZEUS.
If you are asking me this question, you obviously don't know me well enough to be asking me this question. Have you ever thought that the person you are asking about babies could be infertile?
How you could be the latest in a long line of motherfuckers who keep bring up babies to a woman who is deeply wounded and sad by her inability to have children? But hey, you need gossip, right? You need to poke your nose into other people's painful beeswax and give it a stir, RIGHT???
(This is not about me. I don't want babies. This is called an example.)
Look, if you knew the infertile woman enough to know her business either she would have told you herself, or someone in your close friend group would have given you the heads up.
Wah, wah, I didn't mean it. Dude. No one gives a shit what you meant. Everyone in the world thinks they have the right to demand that women answer for their life choices. Cut it the fuck out. The reason why you are an asshole that is hurting that poor lady is because EVERYONE is asking her this, and that's a lot of questioning and shit to take. Over and over and over.
Before Josh and I got together, people would ask me when I was going to get a boyfriend. Like I had some catalog I could pick a nice boyfriend out of, and I was sitting alone just for spite.
When people do this to you a lot, it feels like the world is a judgey motherfucker who keeps telling you you're doing everything wrong. And no one has to answer for their life choices to strangers or near strangers.
So in conclusion-- Don't ever say to people, "When are you going to..." Unless the end of the sentence is something like "come hang out with me" or "give me the other half of that report I need".
This has been-- Goddamn, the world needs some etiquette lessons, with Ali Thompson.
You're welcome, fuckers. :D